From the time she was a young Girl Scout patrol leader to now, the current CEO of the Askins Learning Institute, Nancy Ellen Paulsen Askins has been focused on helping people become the best they can be. She was drawn to a field of work where she could create a climate in which people could develop their own skills, and in college, she realized she was better suited to training adults than children. Dr. Askins proceeded to earn a Bachelor of Science in home economics in 1970, a Bachelor of Science in education in 1971, and a Master of Education in 1972, all from the University of Cincinnati, and to complete postgraduate work at Temple University, the National Institute of Financial Education, and Walden University. She furthered her education with a PhD in training and performance improvement from Capella University in 2012. This background set her on the path she still follows to this day.
Besides her job with her eponymous company, Dr. Askins is also the executive director of the Center of Renewal Retreat & Conference Center, a session retreat facilitator of ABWA Management, LLC, and a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. She previously garnered experience as an adjunct professor at Webster University, the director of quality at Hollywood Casino & Hotel Tunica, the coordinator of training services at Gulf Coast Business Services, the vice president of training and associate development at Grand Casino (now Harrrah’s Gulf Coast) through Caesars License Company, LLC, and a part-time instructor of the wellness program, the director of community and volunteer services, and the director of education services at Holy Cross Hospital. Additionally, she has worked as the director of education development, the instructor of wellness, and the training manager at Shore Memorial Hospital (now Shore Medical Center), as the assistant vice president and coordinator of training services at the Collective Federal Savings & Loan Association, and as a member of the Women’s Task Force through The Phoenix Companies, Inc., among many other positions.
When Dr. Askins wasn’t working, she was very active in her community. She was a national seminar leader through the Educational Institute, a judge of the Mississippi Quality Award, and a member of the board of examiners for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the President’s Quality Award, the Tennessee Quality Award, and the Mississippi Quality Award. She has also served in roles like lector for St. Bernard Catholic Church in New Jersey and Christ the King Catholic Church in Mississippi, parish council and chair of the Women’s Club at St. Luke’s Catholic Church in Florida, member of the library advisory board in the city of Margate, Fla., host of foreign exchange students through the American-Scandinavian Student Exchange Program, and member of the board of directors for the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce.
To share her experiences with her peers and the younger generations, Dr. Askins became a John Maxwell certified speaker in 2016, a John Maxwell certified coach and trainer in 2015, a certified coaching practitioner through the Certified Coaches Foundation in 2015, and a certified manager of quality and organizational excellence through the American Society for Quality in 2000. She used that training to serve as an adjunct professor of business and social sciences at Atlantic Cape Community College, a national conference speaker for the American Society for Training and Development (now ATD), an instructor at the Institute for Financial Education (now the National Institute of Financial Education), a facilitator for the Assertiveness Training Group, and a facilitator of organizational and leadership development. From 2000 to 2003, Dr. Askins was a features editor for the Competitive Advantage Quality Division of the American Society for Quality, and from 1998 to 1999, she was the newsletter editor for the Robinsonville Rotary Club.
In light of her achievements, Dr. Askins was honored with an Excellence Award for Outstanding Research by the International Society for Performance Improvement in 2013, and a SBMEF Scholarship and a Top Five Business Women Award from ABWA Management, LLC, in 2010. Other notable accolades include being named a Woman of Achievement and the Woman of the Year by Business Professional Women of Clarksdale, Miss., in 1999, receiving the Gold Director Award and the Rising Star Award from Carlson Learning Co., of Inscape Publishing, in 1998 and 1997, respectively, and being recognized as a Biloxi Career Woman by Biloxi Lighthouse Business & Professional Women in 1995. In 1985, Dr. Askins was granted the Brotherhood-Sisterhood Achievers Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews (now the National Conference for Community and Justice), and in 1983, she was granted the President’s Award from the Greater Mainland Chamber of Commerce. Her triumphs have been highlighted in numerous editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who of American Women, and Who’s Who of Emerging Leaders in America.